Most grass forage now in the clamp with still a nice flush of grass heading into September. Wholecrop came much later to maturity this season (well into August). Some first cut analysis coming back around 27-28% DM.
Although the weather has been bit catchy it seems now to have settled down with some dry consecutive days.
What there is of maize is looking good but not an early harvest as the cobs are considerably off maturity.
Farmers working their land last few weeks with lots of re-seed happening. Personally, would rather get the seeding done before second week in August to have good grass establishment before onset of shorter days heading into autumn.
Store lambs selling well at around £2.40/kg liveweight due to buyers taking advantage of spare grass they have.
Milk price have stagnated again when there was an upward trend over last couple months.
The price in this region is tops of around 29p/litre while some are supplying brokers at around 14p/litre which not sustainable.
Straw always a concern here due to haulage costs as all is imported from the other side of Offa's Dyke (the old boundary between Wales & England).
Not much noise about feed contracts to date as compounders waiting for someone else to make the brave move of testing the market with prices.
After an unsettled May and a wet June, farmers welcomed the spell of good weather during the first half of July resulting in some very heavy second cuts of grass silage coming off the fields and into the clamp. For those that did get slurry and fertiliser back onto silage ground, recent rains will have helped kick-start grass growth again. Although mostly planted in good time, maize was slow to get established in many areas, but the sunshine and hot weather in early July combined with moist earth has accelerated growth and crops are looking very well. Let's hope for more sunshine and showers to keep it moving over the remainder of the summer!
Bonsilage Fit has proved a popular choice for dairy farmers looking to maximise silage stability for high energy forages when opened, with the added benefit of Propylene Glycol produced during fermentation which will reduce BHB counts when fed. For me, it's all about the forage intakes and palatability of Bonsilage Fit treated silages is exceptional!
Looking forward to monitoring growth and getting maize crops off the field at maximum digestibility, at the optimum dry matter, and with as much starch as possible. Just remember not to chase starch over digestibility, it a great "whole crop silage" when harvested at the right maturity.
After such a promising start to the harvest it was back to earth with a thud! In July winter barley came off the field without needing to be dried but with winter wheat it has been a case of just get it off the field when you can and face the consequences later. For wetter grains, treating with Bonsilage Crimp is a great option and gives a high level of protection at a much lower cost than chemical treatments. This is especially true in a year like this where buffered acids have been difficult to get hold of and, like everything else, are up up in price.
There is a lot of third/fourth cut grass silage being made at the moment and although yields are lighter, the quality looks good with enough harvest windows to allow timely cutting. Bonsilage Fit is a good option for these silages as they are often fed to both milking and dry cows and with the propylene glycol formation with Fit, it eases the transition into milking. There is not a lot of maize silage in Northern Ireland but what is out there is looking great; tall and a deep green colour. It just shows what we could grow if we had these warm summers every year. Saying that, we can often grow a good crop here but it is getting it in the clamp in autumn that is the problem. If it gets wet here, which is most years, it is a battle to get the maize harvested and to not bring the field out on to the road. There is also an increased focus, as everywhere, with not leaving fields fallow over winter and ground conditions are usually not good enough to get a crop in after maize.
Another digester has started using our OLIGAS customised trace element (TE) blend recently. They had been suffering from fluctuating gas production and volatile fatty acid levels in the digester varied up and down which is now fixed and the digester is very stable. Being fed a wide range of feedstocks, the biology in the digester needed to be more robust and increasing the level of trace elements, especially the “golden four” made a positive difference. You can only increase specific TEs with a truly customised blend and an off the shelf blend doesn’t allow that. For me, the real benefit of TEs is that it makes the biology more robust and less prone to falling over at the first hint of a challenge. All of that means that you get to sleep well at night!
As summer draws to a close we are thinking about getting that last of the grass off the fields and we are waiting patiently for spring barley and maize to be ready to harvest. Silage stocks are, by and large, plentiful here which is a great comfort to farmers as even if we have a delayed spring we will have enough to keep bellies full. With the massive increase in the cost of concentrates it will help to keep a lid on production costs as well. Always keep in mind that maximising forage quality and intake is the key to minimising production costs!
Contacts: David Porter - 07766 722505, Gareth Jones 07927 288866, Sean Quinn 07714 213466